Shortening the golf swing

I hear complaints all day long on the range and on the net.

“I need to shorten my swing and I can’t do it. Do you have a tip.”

I have had many students with this issue and they are all stubborn as mules. Like many other issues in the swing, people wants quick fixes, but this issue is probably the worst.

Let me attack this from a different angle. Let’s say we have a person who wants to lose 10 pounds and goes to a person that is a nutritionist and personal trainer. The nutritionist/trainer gives them a proper diet and workout regimen.

After the first day our hero weighs himself and finds he has lost no weight, goes back to the nutritionist/trainer and says…

“The program you gave me doesn’t work, I haven’t lost any weight yet.”

The NT then says it takes time and if our hero stick to the program, he will start to notice results.

A week later our hero looks in the mirror, sees no change in his body and quits the routine and goes back to his old eating habits and workout habits.

What would we think about our hero?

Idiot, imbecile, moron…insane?

A pencil or garden tool in need of sharpening?

Someone in need of a pimp slap?

Overly harsh criticism and kidding aside, this analogy is exactly what happens when people try to shorten their swings (and attack many other swing issues). They attempt to fix it an when they don’t see immediate results, they abandon the pursuit.

In order to shorten your golf swing, you make an effort to shorten it ON EVERY SWING YOU MAKE WITH EVERY CLUB.

You do the 9-3 drill, you work on staying properly (but not overly) connected, you work on stopping your swing when your shoulder turn stops, you work on maintaining your posture…or simply just plain picture in your brain making a shorter swing.

A week later your swing will be shorter, although not perceptibly. A month later people will start to notice, “Hey Joe, you don’t look like you are completing your backswing.”

6 months later when people start telling you your aren’t make a full turn and getting to parallel, you will realize you have achieved your goal and all of your golfing buddies are so stuck in a morass of cliches, you are going to start taking all of their money.

Those wanting quick fixes are never going to get better, while those understanding that improvement in golf is not measured in 5 minutes on the range and one good round, but measured in months and 30-40% drops in their handicaps.

I believe this is why handicaps have not gone down significantly even with the advent of so much club and swing technology. The instruction industry and American life in general has become about immediate gratification.

Just make an effort every day and you will lose weight, get in better shape and shorten your swing.

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12 Comments

  1. Robert Johansson

    Change that stick happens gradually.
    quick tips sells magazines and INTERNET fashion.

    Reply
  2. Calvin

    In some ways this might be your best post.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Let’s face it, if 1,000,000 golfers read my blog, scores would go down and it would take 4 hours or less to play golf.

      Reply
      • Calvin

        “Overly harsh criticism and kidding aside, this analogy is exactly what happens when people try to shorten their swings (and attack many other swing issues). They attempt to fix it an when they don’t see immediate results, they abandon the pursuit.

        In order to shorten your golf swing, you make an effort to shorten it ON EVERY SWING YOU MAKE WITH EVERY CLUB.”

        This is why Bertholy works, if you have a masochistic bent. 🙂 I like your way much better.

        Reply
  3. Mike Z

    This is a good post.

    As I achieved some success getting my shoulders on a better plane this year (the ball-toss and club-across-the-shoulder drills were HUGE for me), I got worse because:

    (1) old stance wasn’t right for a more on-plane swing
    (2) old grip too strong for an on-plane swing
    (3) old alignment was wrong for an on-plane swing

    Now that the “new move” has taken root, I have gradually made adjustments to stance, grip, and alignment that have me hitting 10+ greens every round on a tight course in windy conditions although I still have a ways to go.

    I would guess that 75% of improving a golf swing isn’t in learning a new move. It’s forgetting all the compensatory details that our brains subconsciously build in to compensate for our old, crappy moves. If you make a change to improve your turn, you won’t see long-term success unless corresponding improvements are made to setup and alignment that complement the new motion.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      “I would guess that 75% of improving a golf swing isn’t in learning a new move. It’s forgetting all the compensatory details that our brains subconsciously build in to compensate for our old, crappy moves. If you make a change to improve your turn, you won’t see long-term success unless corresponding improvements are made to setup and alignment that complement the new motion.”

      SO TRUE AND WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A POST NEXT WEEK.

      Reply
  4. Jason

    Nothing wrong with completing the backswing, it’s how it’s interpreted. Like Monte says, if you are flexible enought to turn 90* and everything is in sync, that’s your complete backswing. If you can only turn 70*, then that’s your complete backswing. I think it’s about your body getting out of the way to allow your arms full access to the backswing then out of the way to allow the swing to the target and maintaning posture and proper tilt with a weightshift should allow this to happen. Any thoughts Monte or anyone else?

    Reply
    • Robert Johansson

      The classic swing syncs the portion of the body up nicely.
      Once you throw that club head the body and shoulders and the rest follow along just nicely if the tempo fits the sequence. Lower body with hips leads on and the rest with proper tempo is chained along. of course there is a ton of things that can go wrong but if the golfer have the basics down then implementing a change isn’t that hard to do over time.

      Reply
  5. Jason

    Hey Monte, I just re-watched the latest Video on Shoulder turn and tilt and I now understand your message about tilt not infulencing shoulder turn. My wife got it 1st time LOL. You sometimes do need to watch these videos a few times and you learn something new every time.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Doesn’t surprise me. Your wife probably has fewer preconceptions than you do.

      Reply
  6. The Original Brian

    Off for the first round of the year, if the range is any indication it should be a good day. It’s time to see if Monte has cured me.

    Reply
  7. Jason

    Monte, that’s propbably true for us all really. Since I have been following You and Shawn I slowly have been getting rid of all the bad stuff. 2 years so far. I just want to let go of control and let my body do things natrually.
    Biran, have a good round. I Melbourne we are lucky to be able to play all year ’round.

    Reply

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  1. Update — 2013.05.24 | Digging Out of the Dirt - […] I was doing some searching through the archives on Monte’s blog and came across these posts that seem to…

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